Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana October 2017: Fiendish Options

So a bunch of fiendish subraces but only a point of ABS besides Charisma moved to other skills and some Legacy spells swaps, plus some cult spells and features.

It doesn't do much for my game.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
So, if...purely hypothetically...I described your forum posts as 'moronic', you would understand I was saying it about your writing and not about you?

I'll have to remember that.

As I seem to recall, you sorta already have (or at least implied it) in a previous post attacking me for a criticism I had of the work of a professional. And guess what? It's not the first time, and probably won't be the last. And also, some of those times when people called me out, they were absolutely right and provided constructive ways for me to improve my idea or direction. And sometimes I listened, other times I disagreed. That's what I risk by putting my thoughts out for the world to digest. You don't have to agree, I'm not asking you too. But this work is specifically created in order to gauge public opinion and feedback, and if I feel strongly negative about it and I make that known, then there is a chance this is not the level of work WotC lowers itself to and continues to challenge themselves and strive for better. Yea, I was harsh, but I supported my argument. It was not without basis or merit. And maybe my voice is the minority, in which case cool, WotC will publish garbage like this in their paid products and they will make money, but not mine.

Ah. So, in other words, it's ok that you denigrated them...I mean, their work...because you also gave them some valuable tips. For free, no less.

That's what feedback is. Sometimes people sugar coat it in nicer language to prevent hurt feelings, other times it's more directed and pointed for emphasis. Given this is one of the few times I have even had comments I felt worth writing and posting regarding UA, I think that says a lot. And also, let's not forget that while this material is free it doesn't mean WotC doesn't benefit from it. This is market research and crowd sourced playtesting so WotC can have an idea of what people will pay for. And if this is any indication of their intended future direction, I want no part of it and want them to know it in the strongest terms possible to prevent them from trying to package and sell garbage. WotC puts UA out in the world exactly for the purpose of knowing how I and the rest of the gaming community feel about new potential mechanics. So forgive me if my words regarding my enjoyment or lack of enjoyment of a particular piece of work, by professionals seeking feedback to guide future design decisions to make money from people like us, whose work I generally enjoy and admire, seemed to hurt your feelings.

Edit: Actually reread your initial post on this matter directed at me, where you implied that I was too simple to understand a document made about a make believe dice game where the rules contantly change and the points don't matter. So yea, I see where you draw the line. If someone says something you don't like, it's ok to immediately in your words "denigrate" them by suggesting I don't understand what I'm talking about. Where you could have actually practiced what you preach by engaging in discussion about the specific points I made and the reasons for the labels I used that you seem to disagree with, you instead chose to belittle me and my argument as if I'm a child and wouldn't be able to follow your inherent wisdom. But God forbid if someone says something negative about the work product of some big shot you care about. Thems fightin' words!

And with that, I'm done derailing this thread, as this is way off-topic. If you care to continue this, you can find me in PMs. Or you can block me. Frankly either one works for me.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Mephista

Adventurer
So, I must say that I do like most of the tiefling things. It would have been nice to see some that don't have spells. I don't like the spy and criminal races being so close (or the spy having the bluntly obvious Thaumaturgy spell). I would have loved to see Fernia to have some fire magic - that's her level's forte. I get not changing the elemental resistance - devils are renowned for being immune to fire on all levels, including Leviticus' ice devils. But, other than nitpicking over what benefits each race grants? I'm actually rather stoked about the idea behind each one. Glyssa the criminal mastermind. Fernia the socialite. Raziel the paladin. And so on. Each idea behind the eight new subraces are solid, and I highly approve. Looking forwards to messing with a new tiefling rogue or the paladin of tyranny.

That said. I'm actually a bit interested in tying all this into the racial feats we saw earlier. There were some that ran off Constitution and got resistance to cold and stuff. So, when combined with these new subraces, it actually seems to combine into some interesting devil types, and I'm actually thinking of how this could work. I'd love to see nine new racial feats for the tieflings with this on the table.

The cults are pretty solid, and I do like them. At least for the devils. I've never gotten behind the idea of abyss cults - for the most part, these are basically a mix of pseudo-gods (minotaurs, etc). I can see Orcus getting a cult of necromancers going on, or Grazz't with his satan thing going on, but the rest I just never understood. Cultural corruption is the devil's stick - demons are more in-your-face types.
 

cbwjm

Legend
So, I must say that I do like most of the tiefling things. It would have been nice to see some that don't have spells. I don't like the spy and criminal races being so close (or the spy having the bluntly obvious Thaumaturgy spell). I would have loved to see Fernia to have some fire magic - that's her level's forte. I get not changing the elemental resistance - devils are renowned for being immune to fire on all levels, including Leviticus' ice devils. But, other than nitpicking over what benefits each race grants? I'm actually rather stoked about the idea behind each one. Glyssa the criminal mastermind. Fernia the socialite. Raziel the paladin. And so on. Each idea behind the eight new subraces are solid, and I highly approve. Looking forwards to messing with a new tiefling rogue or the paladin of tyranny.

That said. I'm actually a bit interested in tying all this into the racial feats we saw earlier. There were some that ran off Constitution and got resistance to cold and stuff. So, when combined with these new subraces, it actually seems to combine into some interesting devil types, and I'm actually thinking of how this could work. I'd love to see nine new racial feats for the tieflings with this on the table.

The cults are pretty solid, and I do like them. At least for the devils. I've never gotten behind the idea of abyss cults - for the most part, these are basically a mix of pseudo-gods (minotaurs, etc). I can see Orcus getting a cult of necromancers going on, or Grazz't with his satan thing going on, but the rest I just never understood. Cultural corruption is the devil's stick - demons are more in-your-face types.

I think Mephisto would have been a good bloodline to have some firemagic. He's well known to have an interest in the manipulation of hellfire that giving his bloodline fire spells would make sense.
 

Mephista

Adventurer
Ironically, the Mephistopheles cult learns all fire spells (firebolt, burning hands, flaming sphere, fireball). That said, I must admit that I appreciate fewer spells that deal damage (or grant hp) than more. If I learned anything from the phb tiefling, non-scaling hellish rebuke very quickly becomes a worthless trait as time goes on and the level goes up. Cantrips scale with level, abilities like darkness, disguise self or charm person remain relevant throughout your pc's life. Damage spells quickly lose their oomph at lower levels.

Well, its very likely that Fernia and Belial seem to be moving away from the hellfire position in the first place. Mephistopheles seems to be holding onto that, I guess. So, that's quite likely why. Heck, the Mephistopheles warlock power is to shoot fireballs on top of eldritch blasts! That's a lot of fire.
 




G

Guest 6801328

Guest
No, lazy is a comment on it being lazy. And it is very lazy to simply swap a couple of spells and a stat bump. That isn't design, that's copy/paste.

It only seems "lazy" to you because you expected or wanted more, which was Morrus' point above. Pure entitlement.

I personally am glad they did not do more with this. Even this is more variety than most races have, and I don't want to see Tieflings become the race du jour because powergamers can pick a la carte racial bonuses. This is actually good design, that also happens to require less work than the bad design some others are proposing. Far cry from "lazy".
 




Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
It only seems "lazy" to you because you expected or wanted more, which was Morrus' point above. Pure entitlement.

Professionals are paid to do a job. When their performance is such that it could be achieved or replicated easily by a non-professional not being paid for their work, it is fair to call them out for it. When a kicker on a professional football team is paid to kick a ball and they start to miss from the 30 yard line, they are gonna get reamed for that performance and rightly so because they are paid to perform with a certain expected level of sophistication and ability.

I personally am glad they did not do more with this. Even this is more variety than most races have, and I don't want to see Tieflings become the race du jour because powergamers can pick a la carte racial bonuses. This is actually good design, that also happens to require less work than the bad design some others are proposing. Far cry from "lazy".

1) Even though they wrap each of these "subraces" up in a themed package, there is a clear and easy equation for how they did this. You may not see this as a la cart, but it is only half a degree of separation from it.

2) There is a difference between simple and lazy. Advantage and disadvantage as a mechanic is simple. But it's elegant and interesting. Prior to 5e, I had not seen anything like it in any splat or homebrew. It's one of those things that after someone says it suddenly seems dumb not to have considered yourself. Something can be simple and still be interesting and good design. This tiefling garbage is not such an example. The eladrin and gith presented last time didn't grab my interest, but at least they tried something new and interesting with that race and subrace.

3) UA is a place specifically for new and experimental design. This is the tool WotC designers use to shoot for the moon and see what works and what people like. So forgive us if we expect more from a paid professional then what anyone on these boards could just as easily have proposed or previously did at our own tables. Why would I trust someone to make mechanics I would pay for if they present mechanics I could come up with?

4) The tiefling "subraces" breaks the design philosophy and trends that exist within 5e. This is different from experimental mechanics. Each race previously created has subraces that are in some way distinct. There is at least one or two abilities that separate them in meaningful ways. Rather than follow this previously established trend, the designers substitute spell-like abilities and attempt to pass them off as thematic and meaningful changes by using the fluff around the named diabolic being the tiefling subrace is linked to. And yet, each one of their named demon/devil lords is so much more than spell-like abilities in their differences, capabilities, and influences. Each of those figures has a rich history, powers, look, and style that they could have drawn influence from. Instead of looking at each as unique and using that to influence the design of their subrace, they boiled tiefling subraces to their lowest common denominator and created an illusion of separation between a tiefling of Asmodeus and a tiefling of Levistus.

You can like it. It can work for you. But that doesn't change the fact that there are a million ways these paid, professional game designers could have went, and they went in the easiest possible direction. That is laziness defined.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Parmandur

Book-Friend
No, the easiest path would have been to not test any new concepts in their trial balloon program.

They don't need to playtesting the Archdevils, they already have that info: fluff is easy-peasy, and they already have a design Bible for that from the Next playtesting.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
No, the easiest path would have been to not test any new concepts in their trial balloon program.

They don't need to playtesting the Archdevils, they already have that info: fluff is easy-peasy, and they already have a design Bible for that from the Next playtesting.

You're right. I would have much preferred they released this UA without the tiefling subraces at all. Everything else in the UA was fine. And I hope most people that complete the survey let them know that we would like more out of subraces than a simple spell substitution. Or if they want that to be a distinct niche for the tiefling, go harder and broaden the rules for how to accomplish it.
 

I have no particular feelings to these tiefling options one way or the other, but I do have to point something out.

Sometimes it's not a question of how simple (or even "lazy," if you like) an idea is, but simply coming up with it.

Sure, anyone can swap out the spell options and the stat bonuses to create different tieflings connected to different devils. But did anyone? Everyone saying "I could have done this," sure you could have, but had you actually thought to do it prior to this?

Lots of things are easy in retrospect. The formula for gunpowder is (so far as such things go) a simple one, but it still wasn't invented until it was invented.

Maybe, at the last minute, someone at WoC said, "Hey, we could create sub-tieflings by swapping out spells and stats!" And they could have just thrown that on there as a sentence or two, since all they were really trying to do was share the idea, except they knew they'd then get reamed for not providing examples and doing the work. But the purpose (in this hypothetical; I'm not saying I know what they intended) was simply to present the idea, because it hadn't come up before.
 

I'll tell you something else, speaking as a designer.

Sometimes, you float something easy, simple, even lazy, just to see if there's interest, and if so, how much. You spend an hour whipping up something serviceable, but no more, to see if it's worth spending longer at it.

That's what playtests and public participation are often for. UA isn't just about, and was never promised to be about, wild and out-there stuff. This is the best way to determine--yes, better than just asking a question without context--if there's an interest in source-specific tiefling subraces.
 

dropbear8mybaby

Banned
Banned
Sometimes it's not a question of how simple (or even "lazy," if you like) an idea is, but simply coming up with it.
Wow, that's some serious hoops of logic to jump through in order to get to making excuses for WotC.

But did anyone? Everyone saying "I could have done this," sure you could have, but had you actually thought to do it prior to this?
Yes, actually, I did.
 


Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
[MENTION=1288]Mouseferatu[/MENTION] You make some valid points, and I have nothing against design that is simple. And yes, this material is being used for playtest to gauge interest. I suppose my biggest issue isn't necessarily the design, but the way it is being packaged. These are not subraces as we've understood subraces. As I mention above, subraces are unique, or at least distinct in their abilities. However, not only is there very little distinction between the presented tiefling subraces, but they are created using a clear and easily identified formula. Additionally, as I mentioned before, each of the devil/demon lords has a rich history, anatomy, powers, ect. Instead of drawing inspiration from those areas and creating abilities that would actually distinguish the various subraces, they boiled each one down to a themed spell list.

I would have much preferred the creators provide us their formula for swapping out the cantrips and spells for tieflings, and provide an example or two. And rather than call these subraces, they become tiefling options. As it is, these are a little misleading.

As to the question of whether I or anyone has done this, not specifically with the tiefling (only because the one I played was a winged variant without the spell-like abilities. Had I not gone that route, I may have requested some one-to-one swap outs). But I have created many personal homebrew using 1-for-1 swap outs, including an entire archetype. For people that are willing and able to work on homebrew, it is one of the most elementary ways of creating something somewhat new while maintaining a semblance of balance. On a continuum of creating new content, 1-for-1 substitutions are probably the safest, while introducing new mechanics is the riskiest.

Additionally, while once again I have not done this with the tiefling, I did use it as a basis for distinguishing my homebrew genasi racial subtypes. Granted, this was not the sole way the subraces were distinguished in my homebrew, as I also gave them at least one additional unique ability outside of their spell-like abilities.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Professionals are paid to do a job. When their performance is such that it could be achieved or replicated easily by a non-professional not being paid for their work, it is fair to call them out for it. When a kicker on a professional football team is paid to kick a ball and they start to miss from the 30 yard line, they are gonna get reamed for that performance and rightly so because they are paid to perform with a certain expected level of sophistication and ability.

So if I go to a doctor and he looks at me and says, "It's nothing to worry about; you'll feel better tomorrow" I should call him "lazy" because he didn't wheel me into surgery?

Sometimes professionals recognize that something simple is the correct answer. I know you disagree that the simple thing was the correct answer in this case, but others here think it was. Clearly there are two valid opinions. Anybody with a modicum of graciousness and/or humility would acknowledge that it's possible the designers also think it was the right solution and chose it for that reason, not because they were lazy. Perhaps you disagree with that assessment, but given the choice between assuming they were incorrect versus lazy, you could have chosen to assume they simply made an inferior choice.

Instead, you concluded they were lazy.

I won't bother quoting the rest because it is just a continuation of that theme.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top